How Much Sleep Does Your Cat Really Need?

 A guest post by Adam Kyle 

patchesIt’s always tempting to measure your pet’s internal clock by comparing it with your own. After all, many of us come to think of our pets as “furry people.” In reality, they’re biologically much different from us, with an entirely different set of internal requirements needed for functioning at their best.

And as any cat owner can tell you, a feline will often have a very different sense of when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be wide awake. That said, it’s important to understand the difference between a well-rested cat up and about and an anxious, unhealthy animal that’s not getting the right amount of sleep.

So exactly how much sleep does a cat actually need each night to be at his or her best?

Cats Sleep Longer Than You Might Expect

On average, cats can sleep between 12 and 14 hours each day. By comparison, the average adult human needs seven to nine hours of nightly rest. So why do cats, who are much smaller than the average person, need nearly twice as much sleep?

Theories range, but many believe it’s because of their hunter-related instincts. House cats among the most successful hunters out of all predatory species. To catch prey, they need to be alert, agile, and very fast. By sleeping for so long, they allow their bodies to become especially energized. Can they help it if all that energy gets released at 3 o’clock in the morning?

Why They Love Cardboard Boxes So Much

While your cat might doze away on your mattress, studies have shown they seem to have a quirky preference for resting in cardboard boxes. Scientists believe they find these boxes to be comfortable and provide a sense of security. In one study, a researcher found that newly arrived cats to a shelter who had a box to sneak away to weren’t as stressed out as the cats who lacked one.

So the next time you see your cat sleeping in an old shoe box instead of the expensive cat bed you purchased, just go with it.

If Your Cat Is Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little

Even though it might be normal for your cat to sleep about half the day, it might be a sign of a serious health problem. It’s true that obese cats tend to sleep longer than healthier felines. It’s also possible that severe stress might be to blame for your cat not getting the right amount of sleep. Talk to a veterinarian if you suspect that a serious health issue is to blame for your cat’s sleep troubles.

Cats are amazing animals, and it only makes sense that we’re curious about their sleep behaviors. They can keep us up at night, quite literally, thinking about it. As long as your cat gets the right food and a sizeable amount of exercise daily, you have no reason to be alarmed if your feline friend hasn’t budged from their cat bed for more than half a day.  Instead, feel free to be amazed, and maybe a little bit jealous.

is a sleep expert at MattressReviews.net. A workaholic by nature, it wasn’t until his late twenties that he realized the importance of sleep for his health. At that point, he focused on learning everything he could about sleep. Now, Adam specializes in how his environment and his physical well-being affect his sleep. A San Francisco native, he finds the sounds of the city soothing and struggles to get to sleep in quieter environments.   

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